Finally went to a couple of the "fancy" Indian restaurants with friends.
Surya, in the west Village, has only been open for a couple of weeks. The chef seems to be from Southern Indian, but the entire menu is not vegetarian, and includes a greater variety of fish dishes than most Indian restaurants. Entrees are in the $8-12 range for vegetarian and $15-18 or so for meat, fish and poultry. Ambiance is hippish but friendly.
Food was much better than average but nothing was outstanding and the paratha was poor (for some reason, it is the only bread available -- they may be awaiting a tandoori oven). Portions are smallish. The presentation is nice -- your dish is "plated" (I love that verb!) if that matters to the foodoise.
Bay Leaf is on W. 57th between 5th and 6th (near the Benihani on the south side of the street). It markets itself as an Indian "bistro" with a sampling of many different regions of India. I had my doubts looking at the range, but although I still don't think it is quite up to the level of Mavalli, let alone Dawat, I enjoyed Bay Leaf very much because several items, especially the appetizers, are new to me. I went with a group of 5, and we were all tasting each other's stuff, and most of it was fine. Bay Leaf, like many of the Indian restaurants takes the Times Card and Transmedia. I'll be back.